Safety Ideas and Tips for Cyclists

Safety Ideas and Tips for Cyclists

by: Lisa Ritchie

In the warmer weather months it seems more bicyclists are on our area roadways.  Bicycling is a good aerobic exercise and many people enjoy it.  If you're cycling as part of your fitness routine for the alkaline lifestyle, be sure to understand and apply these safety tips so you can cycle safely.

Bicycling Safety Tips

  • One of the first steps you should take is to do some bicycle maintenance, especially if your bike has been in storage over the winter. Check that the tires have not rotted and replace them if necessary. If you lack the skills, any good bike shop can give you a “spring tune-up” and many have specials this time of year. Make sure the chain is properly lubricated and hasn’t rusted and check that the brake pads are not worn out. It’s also a good idea to learn how to change a bike tire and to carry levers and an extra inner tube on your rides.

  • Basic bicycling law states that you should ride with the flow of traffic and as far to the right as possible, without riding on the sidewalk. In addition, headlights are required on bikes at night, and if you're riding at night, you absolutely should use a flashing red rear light. Helmets and reflectors are required, in some states only for children under the age of 18, but common sense indicates everyone should wear a bicycle helmet. You can check the laws in your state at http://www.helmets.org/mandator.htm.  It’s also a good idea to put a horn or a bell on your bike.

  • Cyclists should ride safely to the right, but far enough away from parked cars, and not be afraid to “own” the lane.  Although bicycle law states that you should ride as far to the right as possible, sometimes this is not a good idea. For instance, someone exiting a parked car could open the door right in front of you.  It could also make you less visible to motorists pulling out of driveways and parking lots.  In addition, motorists coming from behind may pass you way too closely because you didn't make them change lanes. In each of these cases you would have been following the law, but could still have been hit so use common sense.

  • You should also always ride with the flow of traffic. Why? Wouldn’t you rather SEE the traffic coming at you? WRONG! If you are riding against the flow of traffic, a motorist pulling out of a side street will likely look only at the oncoming traffic before pulling out in front of you.

  • Don’t ride on the sidewalk, unless the flow of traffic is so close you risk life and limb. When you come off the sidewalk to cross a street, you are invisible to motorists. Make yourself as visible as possible; wear bright clothing, put reflectors and lights on your bike, and recumbent bikes should have a high flag attached to them.
  • Stop BEHIND a car at intersections instead of to the right of it in the blind spot. This makes you very visible to traffic on all sides. The car behind can see you since you’re right in front of it, and you don’t have to worry about the car in front of you making a right turn and cutting you off.

  • Obey traffic rules. Bicycles are vehicles too. Stop at stop signs and red lights. Look both ways before flying through an intersection. When passing other cyclists in either direction, always announce your intentions so they don’t make any sudden moves, for example, “On your right!”

  • Never move left without looking behind you first. Some motorists like to pass cyclists within mere inches, so moving even a tiny bit to the left unexpectedly could put you in the path of a car. Practice holding a straight line while looking over your shoulder until you can do it perfectly. There are also mirrors that fit on your handlebars, helmet, or glasses. You should always physically look back over your shoulder before moving left, but having a mirror still helps you monitor traffic without constantly having to look behind you.

  • Don't swerve in and out of the parking lane if it contains any parked cars. You might be tempted to ride in the parking lane where there are no parked cars, dipping back into the traffic lane when you encounter a parked car. This puts you at risk for getting hit from behind. Instead, ride a steady, straight line in the traffic lane.

  • Do not wear headphones or be texting or talking on your cell phone while riding.  You need to 100 percent focused.  Also wear proper footwear.  I’ve seen people wearing flip-flops while riding.  That is an accident waiting to happen.  Sneakers or cycling shoes are recommended.   

With spring and summer cycling seasons in full swing, many of our Alkaline Lifestyle members and readers are dusting off their bicycles, checking the tires, and hitting the road for some good aerobic activity and plain old fun.  But please, make sure you cycle safely, wear your helmet, and obey the rules of the road.  Be smart AND safe!

 

 

© 2011 by AlkalineLifestyle.com.  All rights reserveD

 

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration.  The preceding information and/or products are for educational purposes only and are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. Please consult your doctor before making any changes or before starting ANY exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using this information or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.


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